Feminism And Women’s Rights In Post Colonial Africa And France

1474 words - 6 pages

Feminism has not been an issue at the forefront of post-colonial France, which may be because there were many issues with women’s rights also in Africa. This may be changing because of the attention that the headscarves affair, female excision, and equality rights groups have been recently receiving. Women’s rights in African cultures are very different than in most of the Western world, like France and the United States.
Women, in general, have been discriminated against plenty but this comes to a head in many “third world” countries, several of which are in Africa. Many believe that this discrimination that African women face is based on traditions and customs from generations before that have survived through to post-colonial and twenty-first century times. As D. Thomas quoted from Nnaemeka, “African women are doubly victimized: first from within (their culture)…” these women are “victimized” from the values that they follow through their countries from even before they were colonized by the French or any other country. This is not to mention that the women are also discriminated by their “saviors”, the French, first because they are African and second because they are African women. Women in Africa attempt to become activists and fight for their right to equality, but they are “often overlooked… and in most part ignored” in favor of the males, who have more of a “voice” in public. This way, the women do not usually have a voice to discourage the use of things like arranged marriages, the ability to choose not to wear headscarves, or female excision.
In 1989, the issue about the constitutional right to wear headscarves became a constitutional issue, but more than this it asked whether Muslim females had a right to choose not to wear the traditional headscarves. Many of the French saw the use of headscarves for women as a sign of unwanted “submission”, so they felt that banning the use of headscarves was a good idea. But did the use of headscarves for Muslim women oppress their rights, and how did these women feel about this? According to interviews conducted by E. Thomas, there are plenty of women who wear the headscarves and are okay with them and women who do not like to wear the headscarf, but have to. This issue shows that there is discrimination against women by their families and pressure to make them follow somewhat submissive traditions, even if they do not want to. Families and traditions forcing or pressuring women and girls into doing something that they do not willing choose is another way that women are discriminated against in not just Africa and post-colonial France, but also the world as a whole.
This brings me to my next topic: the forcing of female circumcision on women and girls. Female circumcision, which is also called female genital mutilation, is used to attempt to control women through circumcising, or mutilating, the external parts of the female genitalia. According the World Health Organization (WHO), the use of...

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